Friday, February 25, 2011

Podcast: Nicholson Baker

We had a great time yesterday with Nicholson Baker, who was visiting Cornell for a reading and to talk with students--he read from his most recent novel, The Anthologist, and followed up with an essay about giving public readings from The Size Of Thoughts.  This interview is one of my favorites that I've ever done--we discussed the relationship between Nick's activist and formally experimental modes, his thoughts about literary fandom, how he arrives at the form and structure of his books (the answer quite surprised me), and the impermanence of literary texts.  My thanks to the W6 readers who provided questions--I fit quite a few of them in!

We also talked, off-air, about his next book, due out in August, and I must say that it sounds like a doozy.  If you liked Vox and The Fermata, this might be the one you've been waiting for.

8 comments:

gvNL said...

Wonderful interview. Interesting, how this rigorous mind turns out to be such a gentle and humble person.

No better way of spending a Friday night after writing than listening to a Nicholson Baker interview with a glass of wine in hand. Wish it went on for a few more hours!

jrlennon said...

Thank you! He is indeed modest. Asked by a colleague of mine why he doesn't teach, he said that he doesn't know enough about writing.

knigt said...

Hearing him respond to my (and others') question was excellent -- thanks for asking it! I have a billion follow-up questions I wish he could answer, but I'll save those for when I get my turn :P

rmellis said...

I love him. LOVE HIM!!!!

violentbore said...

I've been working for the past several weeks on what has already been my longest, most complex writing project.

The 'a ha!' moment has gradually faded, and I'm now faced with what I perceived to be the daunting task of fleshing out each of the several ideas floating around in my brain.

Then - this interview! It was so refreshing and even consoling to hear two writers whom I respect discuss some of the issues related to my own work.

Baker's statement about the richness of the details surrounding our lives certainly spoke to me. I also enjoyed hearing him speak of the liberating nature of simply 'making up' what comes next in a piece unencumbered by any adherence to historical events.

Thanks for including my question. Much appreciated. Now those floaters in my brain (brain-floaters?) seem a little more promising!

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NewEnglander said...

I'm so touched by this coincidence. I've had so many near misses meeting him in Maine, and hope to take his portrait this summer if he's willing. Now I will listen to the interview-- thanks, John. I loved Vox, thought it was so brilliant and human.

Kyle Minor said...

Really enjoyed this.